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YouTube TV calamity totally ruined Heat vs Celtics NBA Playoffs game

OPINION: If YouTube TV is going to keep raising prices, it can’t fail sports fans as it did on Wednesday night when NBA coverage crapped out at the critical juncture.

NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Game 1. Heat at Celtics. Crunch time. We’re deep in the fourth quarter with the Heat up 7 points with under five potentially series-defining minutes to play. Crunch time. There’s a time out on the floor.

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As usual during these critical timeouts, the TV networks take a break. I need a breather too. I’m about to launch myself through the TV if these refs call one more soft foul on my underdog Miami Heat as they chase a critical road win in the 7 game series against the Championship favourites – and my most despised rival team – the Boston Celtics.

YouTube TV shows me The Little Mermaid live action reboot trailer, but it’s choppy and soon freezes completely. I exit the Apple TV app (which has been buggy as hell lately anyway) and restart, keen not to miss anything. Back to Ariel and Ursula. Then again.

I can’t get past that bloody trailer. I’m starting to empathise with Sebastian Crab, who famously sang: “Ariel, listen to me, the human world, it’s a mess, life under the sea is better than anything they got up there.”

I know the game is back on because I can see the clock moving in my sports score app. The Celtics have just cut the lead to 5 points and I’m freaking out at this point. Frothing and swearing and waking my wife up. Frantic to download and log into the TNT app in time for the end of the game.

Meanwhile I’m restarting my Apple TV and checking my internet connection trying to nix the bug. As if these games aren’t stressful enough. It’s a good thing the good folks of Twitter saw the funny side.

YouTube TV had failed me at the worst time. I’m eventually into the TNT standalone app and have linked my YouTube TV account with under a minute to go. I’ve missed the game’s pivotal shot, a Jimmy Butler 3-pointer that bounced off the rim multiple times before dropping through the net.

The Heat were going to win, but the moment was lost. By the time YouTube TV started working on the TV again, the stadium was empty and the post-game analysis was over.

All this from a service that had just put its costs up, yet again just a few weeks previously, to $72.99 a month plus taxes (comes out at about $84 for me). YouTube TV is now must as expensive as cable was, back in the days that you got networks like HBO and Showtime bundled in.

There are greater advantages, of course. The cloud DVR, the range of devices you can watch live television on, the multiple concurrent streams, and the way they don’t seem to mind that I’m logged in at my in-laws too.

However, the sole, remaining reason to subscribe to any kind of Pay TV platform is live sports – the holy grail – and they don’t come much bigger than the Eastern Conference Finals when your team is playing its biggest rival.

If the company is going to charge premium prices to enable access to these showpiece events, it can’t fail viewers at those biggest moments.

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